GM's alternative fuel technology research wins award

General Motors Corp. has been known for gas-guzzlers like the Hummer, but chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner says the biggest U.S. automaker has spent years developing new fuel-efficient technologies.

Wagoner was in Kansas City on Tuesday evening to accept the Midwest Research Institute's Trustee Citation Award at its annual dinner. The award recognizes achievements in science, business, academia and the arts. In Wagoner's case, the award is for GM's development of alternative fuel technology and for its expanding research into electric plug-in and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles.

Wagoner arrived at the awards dinner in a Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell Vehicle, which is powered by a fuel cell that stores electricity in the form of hydrogen and emits only water. Although it may be years before hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles become commercially available, GM intends to have an electric plug-in car in dealer showrooms in 2010.

Skyrocketing gasoline prices validate GM's push toward alternatives to petroleum-fueled vehicles but also make it increasingly urgent, Wagoner said in an interview.

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